MANILA, Philippines?The race among the country?s telecommunications firms for more Internet subscribers just got tighter, with Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc. nearly doubling the size of its broadband base at end of the third quarter from the same time last year.
The company said its broadband subscriber base was now at more than a million users. This represented a 95-percent improvement from the 517,355 Globe Internet users in September 2009.
?We are seeing robust growth in subscriber take-up for our DSL [digital subscriber line], Broadband Tattoo and WiMAX [wireless interoperability microwave access] offers, especially in the provinces,? Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu said.
Cu said the numbers did not take into account the level of subscribers who use the Internet using their mobile phones.
The company claims to be the leading carrier used by users of BlackBerry smartphones in the Philippines. The company is also the exclusive distributor of the Apple iPhone.
?We are happy to hit the one-million milestone for broadband users and expect our growth trajectory to continue by year?s end. We aim to be the preferred provider by more subscribers as we introduce new products and improve the surfing experience of our customers,? Cu said.
Since 2006, Globe has seen tremendous growth in its broadband users, with a compounded annual growth rate of 123 percent.
Broadband is seen as the next battleground for local telecommunications companies given the relatively low Internet penetration of the Philippines compared with its neighbors in the region.
With almost everyone in the country using mobile phones, industry players said the market for traditional call and text services was already close to maturity. Likewise, cutthroat pricing between firms has led to a drop in rates, resulting in thinner profit margins for phone firms.
Globe said it recently completed the rollout of its broadband network infrastructure across the Philippines. Of its $500-million budget for 2010, Globe said it invested $120 million for the expansion of its broadband network for the first six months of the year.
Globe?s rival Smart Communications recently reported that its broadband subscriber base was at 1.3 million users, while another seven million Smart users access the Web using their mobile phones.
Smart, a unit of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., earlier said it planned to grow its broadband base to two million users by end-2010.